The Versatile Navy Trench Coat

May 8th, 2011

Firstly, Happy Mother’s Day!

To celebrate mom day this Spring I decided to join forces with my beautiful mother again (one of my first style inspirations – as previously seen here) in a post featuring a classic Spring layer: the rainproof trench.

Here, mom and I show how a classic trench can be worn for just about any occasion –  from casual to formal.

1. Casual


I’ve had this trench for years, and it very well may be my most-worn piece. An unlined (or removable-lined) 3/4 length trench in navy blue (or dark british khaki) is a wardrobe essential, in my opinion.

The classic shape and structure of this jacket immeditately adds character to an otherwise simple everyday look, like a t-shirt and jeans (or in this case, a polo and chinos).

Bonus Tip: A lot of guys shy away from red + white + blue, thinking it may be too “patriotic” or “political”…but every once in a while in the Spring, the combo works very well.

Bonus Tip II: A quick-and-easy way to make a simple polo + chinos look more style-forward and visually interesting – break it up with a complimentary belt and tuck only the front of the polo to show it off a little.

Bonus Tip III (from mom’s look): As I’ve said a hundred times, style should be personal. Don’t do me, do you! Here mom combines a western-inspired look (belt buckle, snap front western shirt, authentic suede riding vest) with some city-chic elements (red trench, black skinny jeans, black boots) to create a look that is perfectly her – a country women visiting the big city. (Yes, believe it or not, I grew up on a farm in a tiny town in Canada. Cows, horses, all that).

  • Navy trench by Brooks Brothers Black Fleece ·
  • White Polo by J.Crew ·
  • Red chinos by Polo Ralph Lauren ·
  • Rope/Leather Sailing belt by Kiel James Patrick ·
  • Mocassins by Street Etiquette for Sebago

2. Business Casual


Pair the trench with a simple shirt + v-neck + trousers look, and you have an outfit that will likely be suave for the next 100+ years.

Bonus Tip: A fine gage V-neck sweater creates a  silhouette that is flattering on just about everyone. It’s such a classic shape, you don’t have to be boring about it. Try a different color combination – like grey + teal + hazel, for example. If all the pieces are classic in shape/design, it’s easier to introduce some more unique colors (mom’s trench is another good example of this).

Bonus Tip II: Sockless season has begun, although I often cheat it by wearing “no show” foot socks. The heavier the look, the more likely I am to wear the mini socks, to soak up some perspiration.

Bonus Tip III (from mom’s look): A silk scarf is the perfect light touch to make a look slightly more visually interesting. More on this soon.

  • Navy trench by Brooks Brothers Black Fleece ·
  • Lightweight v-neck sweater by Gucci ·
  • Grey cotton shirt by Onassis ·
  • Brown leather loafers by Scarpe di Bianco
  • · Brown suit trousers

Coffee Worsted Trouser

3. Business

Of course, a trench can easily be “dressed up” as well.

Throw the trench over a vest + trousers look (which I’m loving for “corporate attire” this Spring/Summer) and you’ll stand-out from the suited crowd, in a creative and comfortable way.

Bonus Tip: Notice how there is a pop of color in each of these looks. As I mentioned in this recent post, Spring is the time to start slipping in some new colorways.

Bonus Tip II: As you probably know, I’m a huge fan of seasonal suiting. I’m also a big fan of seasonal neckwear – like this linen tie.

Bonus Tip III: If you’re going with a louder color (like purple or red, for example) ground it down with neutrals, like greys and navys (like mom and I here).

  • Navy trench by Brooks Brothers Black Fleece ·
  • Charcoal Grey Windowpane Vest ·
  • Grey windowpane trousers ·
  • Purple cotton check shirt ·
  • Spectator wingtip shoes by Barker Black ·
  • Black alligator belt and silver buckle by Ralph Lauren Purple Label ·
  • Watch by Montblanc Timewalker

Thanks for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier


Photography by Alex Crawford.